- Washington State (RV) def. #25 Missouri State, 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 25-15, 23-25, 15-12)
- WSU moves to 10-1; MSU falls to 7-4
- Springfield, Missouri
- Attendance: 905
- Box score
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – At Hammons Student Center on Missouri State’s campus, the announced attendance of 905 were treated to an epic volleyball battle that featured multiple career highs from both teams. Washington State (RV) needed five sets to take down #25 Missouri State, giving Missouri State a taste of its own medicine—limiting the Bears to a .171 attack.
In short, the Cougars’ superior size won the match, outblocking the Bears 18-1. A career high of 9 blocks for Ella Lajos led the wall at the net, with Jocelyn Urias adding 8 blocks and Claire Martin pitching in 6. Other major contributors included career highs in both kills and digs from Taylor Mims (20 k, 15 d) and Ashley Brown‘s 21 digs (with 23 assists) also helped pave the way to victory.
The Bears were not discouraged by their lack of size. They outkilled (72-56) and outdug (91-78) the visitors in the match. Reigning VolleyMob player of the week Lily Johnson led all attackers with 23 kills and added 22 digs. This leaves her just 17 kills shy of the Missouri State school record. Johnson is also only the second Bear in the last 11 season to post a 20-20 kill-dig stat line. Libero Emily Butters had a career high 30 digs, becoming only the 10th player in MSU history to do so.
PRESS RELEASE, courtesy of Washington State athletics
WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE…
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Washington State volleyball team (10-1) needed five sets but grabbed a 18-25, 25-22, 25-15, 23-25, 15-12 win over host Missouri State (7-4) Friday evening at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational at Hammons Student Center in Springfield, Mo.
This was the seventh straight win for WSU.
A trio of Cougars had double-double match statistics led by junior Taylor Mims‘ career-highs of 20 kills and 15 digs. McKenna Woodfordhad 15 kills and 13 digs and Ashley Brown had 23 assists and a career-high 21 digs. Alexis Dirige contributed 15 digs and served three of WSU’s six aces. Penny Tusa added 19 assists.
It was an outstanding day for the WSU front row players with a career-high nine blocks for Ella Lajos followed by Jocelyn Urias with eight blocks and Claire Martin with six blocks. WSU out-blocked the Bears 18 to 1 even though the home team out-hit the Cougs 72 to 56 and out-dug the visitors 91 to 78.
WHY & HOW…
WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny said, “This was a very hard-fought win. I thought we dug down deep and did some really great things against a very good team. And Missouri State will have a lot of success this year. I’m proud of the way we battled and thought we could have taken it in four sets when we were up big in the fourth. But they came storming back because that’s what good teams do. But we were able to settle down and start pretty well in the fifth set and take it at the end.”
Regarding the opening set loss Greeny said, “It was due a little bit to the passing. I didn’t think our hitters were doing a great job as we were really predictable during the first set. And our defense wasn’t there either. We dug much better in the second set and the rest of the match and I think that made a difference. A lot of credit goes to our servers. We served extremely well, especially the third set and they couldn’t get anything going.”
About the big discrepancy in blocking numbers Greeny said, “We talked about getting our blocking going and we did that tonight. I think they are a better blocking team than what the stats show but that means that our hitters did a nice job of hitting around the block. Missouri State played some tremendous defense and that kept them in the match. I’m just happy we could get the kills when we needed them.”
“A really nice job of our two outsides. I thought Taylor and McKenna played huge especially in the later sets. We started moving McKenna around a little bit and she hit the line and played good defense along the way as well.”
About the middles play tonight Greeny said, “Jocelyn had eight blocks tonight and that’s a lot of blocks but she touched probably 20 more balls that they covered as well! She did a fantastic job across the net and Ella was closing those blocks as well.”
Junior middle blocker Ella Lajos said, “The coaches gave us a few key strategies that they felt would lead us to a win tonight. Taking advantage of our physicality and blocking was on that list and I really wanted to contribute in that area of the game. I focused on tracking my hitter and closing the blocks so that my team could play defense around me. It was a great overall blocking effort from our team. Glad I could be a part of it!”
- Missouri State’s Lily Johnson played with McKenna Woodford, Casey Schoenlein and for Coach Jen Greeny on the 2016 US CNT-Europe and played again with Woodford on the 2017 CNT-Thailand team. Johnson, a senior, has already achieved 1000 kills and digs in her career and had 23 kills and 22 digs tonight.
- Missouri State uses both a 5-1 and a 6-2 offensive scheme.
- Bears scored seven straight to go ahead in fourth set 21-19 and take 25-23 win.
- Missouri State got its first block of the match at 10-9 in the fifth set.
- Earlier today WSU def. Tennessee State 3-0 for Coach Greeny’s 100th win at the WSU helm.
- WSU had won 20 consecutive sets in 2017 before dropping the first set at Missouri State.
- WSU is t-29th in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll and Missouri State is 32nd.
- Attendance: 905
MARK YOUR CALENDAR…
Washington State (10-1) has one more matches in Springfield, Mo. The Cougars play Chattanooga (7-6) Sept. 16 at 9:30 a.m. PT.
PRESS RELEASE, courtesy of Missouri State athletics
SPRINGFIELD — Missouri State’s Lily Johnsonposted just the second 20-kill, 20-dig match for a Bear in the last 11 seasons, and Emily Butters became the first MSU player with 30 digs in a match since 2013, but visiting Washington State lived up to its No. 1 national ranking in blocking to come away with a 3-2 win Friday on the second night of the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational at Hammons Student Center.
The Cougars (10-1), who sit three spots ahead of Bears (7-4) in the No. 29 spot of the most recent AVCA Coaches Poll, won by set scores of 18-25, 25-22, 25-15, 23-25 and 15-12, recording 18 blocks in the match to overcome shortfalls of 72-56 in total kills and 91-78 in digs.
For Missouri State, Johnson’s 23 kills moved her past the 1,900 mark for her career and 17 shy of Michelle Witzke’s school record, while she also joined MSU’s career top 10 in digs with 22 in the contest. Lynsey Wright added 13 kills for the Bears and Mikaela Mosquera pitched in a career-high six winners without an error. Butters became the 10th player in school history with 30 digs in a match, a feat accomplished a total of 21 times.
The Bears never trailed in the first set after Emelie Orlando‘s ace capped a 5-0 run with a 9-4 lead. WSU rallied for a 15-all tie before MSU countered with a 3-0 run and pulled away on the strength of 25 team digs to hold the Cougars to a .048 hitting percentage.
Missouri State led for the majority of the second set before a WSU block gave the visitors a 22-21 advantage, and the Cougars scored the final three points of the set for the 25-22 win. Then in the third set, the Cougars had five blocks and four aces and held MSU to a negative attack efficiency for a 2-1 match lead.
Johnson fired eight kills in the fourth set, including five during a crucial 7-0 run that turned a 19-14 WSU lead into a 21-19 advantage for the Bears, and added another for 23-20 before Ashley Ophoven scored MSU’s final two points in the narrow victory to force a fifth set.
The final period was tied at each point until the Cougars got a block for a 7-5 lead. The teams sided out to 12-10 when an MSU error made it 13-10, and four more side outs resulted in WSU win as the Pac-12 school hit .550 with 11 kills in the fifth set.
MSU concludes the tournament Saturday with matches against Illinois (7-2) at 1:30 p.m. and Tennessee State (4-7) at 7:30 p.m.